1. Why did someone think about you for drawing the True Grit Comic Book?
I got the job on True Grit because of a sketch i put up on my Blog of Jeff Bridge's Rooster Cogburn (this is the sketch on my blog: http://christianwildgoose.blogspot.com/2010/11/true-grit-first-of-sktches.html)
I had just watched the trailer and really wanted to draw him because he looked pretty badass, especially the shots of him toting his gun with his overcoat blowing in the wind.
So i drew up this sketch and luck would have it that within a week the sketch had been noticed by somebody working for Paramount who had a short comic in mind for the promotion of the film. they asked me if i was interested in submitting the sketch with the script. pretty much the next day we had Paramount asking if we would come to the offices for a screening of the film and to talk about doing this comic.
2. With regard to technique, how you work? First there were sketches in pencil, then Illustrator?
Typically i approach a comic with tiny thumbnail sketches of the whole comic, working out the layout and composition of the panels, then size up the comic to the size of about A3 and do tighter pencils with a blue pencil and then tighten up more with a lead pencil, because there was such a tight deadline to get it done, i drew the whole thing in pencil in one go, then scanned it into the computer converted the pencils to a blue colour and printed them out onto Bristol Board and then started inking.
With the Inking I decided to take a gamble. usually I ink with just pens but I decided to try inking TG with a brush and india ink. I had never used a brush to ink before purely because I was quite uncertain of myself but this whole project seemed to be about taking gambles so i thought to hell with it. i think it paid off. its not perfect by any means but I gave it the best shot i could, I think i'll be inking with a bush from now on through because it was quite satisfying.
After Inking i scanned in the whole thing again and pieced the comic together using Photoshop and added some greys to add a bit of depth.
3. How much time did it take to make the comic?
From the day that i went to the Paramount offices for the meeting. I had the word to start work on the book, the only catch of such a great job was that i had roughly around 3 weeks to get the whole thing done. I'm very fresh into comics so this was going to be a real challenge for me to get this whole thing right and looking good with no time to really second guess my self. so i had the whole 24 pages plus a cover to get done from scratch. it was a hefty challenge but i managed it just fine, i worked straight through Christmas day and new years eve but it was well worth it!
4. How was working with the Coen brothers? They suggested things?
I didn't have much contact with the Coen Brothers for the comic, not really until the end of the project. obviously i had to keep true to the look and mannerisms of the film's depictions of the characters so i had the in direct guidance of that but it wasn't until we had handed in the official end that we had heard that the Coen's where happy with the finished book. Apparently they have asked for a copy for their office, I was happy enough to just hear that they where pleased with the finished work so i'm very very happy to hear they wanted a copy!
5. It is very strong image of the cover of the comic book. Working in the definition of this character?
Dan who wrote the short had in his mind from the beginning that the cover would have Mattie Ross holding a gun. its absolutely to keep with the direction of the film and the original book. as the whole story of True Grit is about Mattie so it had to be a striking image of her. Mattie in the story is actually quite a brutal character, very strong headed and determined so i could absolutely imagine her holding a gun like that whilst stood next to Rooster! i wanted to try and represent a few thing about the story, obviously that this is young Mattie's story, that she's out for revenge for her father's murder and that even though she is with Rooster and LeBeof she could just as easily be the one to pull the trigger.
6. I watched the movie yet, but you will find the same frames that appear in the comic book?
I had to work as close as i could to the film but there is quite a lot in the book that isn't in the film, you only really see half of this story in the film so i had a lot of freedom for the settings for most of it, the scenes with Mattie and Rooster in the courtroom where quite close to the film but not directly, i don't work straight from photos like that, i like to draw up the whole thing as best i can on my own, but again i had to keep true to the film so there are some very similar shots in there.